Crime or violence against a child takes different forms, and it is an offense committed to a person bellows the age of 18 or a minor. Mostly it takes place in the family, churches, home, schools, public places, and even on the streets (Cannon et al., 2017). This may be done by either doing or causing several or severe harm such as; emotional, mental, and physical abuse, neglecting basic needs, sexual exploitation, child labor, the child being recruited as a soldier or in extremist groups, online violence, or cyberbullying and child trafficking. Mostly, the offenders are keepers or guardians of the minor such as parents, close kindred, caretakers, and anyone in charge of the minor(Cannon et al., 2017). Though only fewer cases of violation of child rights are being reported or brought to public attention, it should be of a bigger concern. Though reported cases usually result in inaction or severe crime against children. Violence is ranked as the second leading cause of death worldwide, especially among adolescent girls (Cannon et al., 2017).
Forms of violence against a minor are lack or deprivation of basic needs such as food, clothing, good shelter, and lack of education (Cannon et al., 2017). A minor or an underage child is entitled good environment, shelter, food, medication, and clothing. Lack of them is termed a violation of the right, and prolong of lack of them, like lack of food, might cause severe starvation (Cannon et al., 2017). Every child is entitled to quality education by the guardians, in whom some children may be deprived of that. Maltreatment takes up a big form, such as beating or violent punishment when a child is beaten up. The beating may cause bruises or cuts that cause discomfort and disease, and it may be done using objects or even (Cannon et al., 2017) torture. This can occur at homes or even in learning institutions like schools or orphanages. Bullying is aggressive behavior or an assault toward a child, do a child or group of children who have a close connection or are not even related with the offended. The assault could be repeated severally and could occur anywhere, be it in schools or online, where you can find various children.
Youth violence is high on both youth adults and children. Mostly it takes place in societally setting and includes strangers and a visitor. The crime is usually committed using dangerous knives and blades guns (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). The kind of crime is usually gang violence or groups (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). Romantic or close partner violence or domestic violence is most common among females but can affect males. It is crimes that happen through forced marriages or early marriages to a minor or between romantic parties involved but not married (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). When it comes to emotional violence is when a child is being ridiculed, intimidated, threatened, being discriminated against, or being treated badly and hostile (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). This lowers the child’s self-esteem and makes them fear rejection and sadness when the assaults are pointed at either boys or girls due to their sexual nature or gender identity; it’s called gender-based violence.
Officer Gee Krupke was a comedy in the year 1957 musical west side. The song was composed by Stephen Sondheim, and Leonard Bernstein was mostly featured in Broadways musical. The song was sung and performed by members of the street gang known as the jets. As they performed, they made fun and laughed at the police sergeant Krupke, singing about the community forces that led them to become or rather to join the gang and becoming members of children gang crime (Hunn et al., 2018). A major theme is why they joined the crime world, and it started with the tone of “dear held longer “to stress its importance. Concerning child violence, officers Krupke is seen trying to put a child behind bars (Hunn et al., 2018). He is from the street with a gang while abusing drugs and terrorizing locals. In his attempt to help, he tried to take them for court trials (Hunn et al., 2018).
The song and the play solely explain why the street children run away from home and join the gang. Instead of the police or law enforcement helping them get the help, they want to arrest them. They try to explain that they don’t have families as their mothers are all junkies and their father is all drunkards. A show cast of a home where drugs and substances are abused together with the children (Korff-Sausse, 2021). The laws only want to put them behind bars; they tried to reason that due to drug abuse, they were not able to get the love of their parents as many children did. Though they believe that deep down, if handled with care and love, they are full of life and good, but no one wants to listen to them(Korff-Sausse, 2021). Officer Krupke told them that that’s a story to be only said to the judge but not him. As the song goes, they faced the judge and told him that their parents treated them rough, as they couldn’t get even a puff of marijuana (Korff-Sausse, 2021). A clear indication that even at a young age, they knew about drugs: the environment was toxic from the start as the parent didn’t want to have them, terming them as a mistake (Korff-Sausse, 2021). Being rejected at a tender age and by people who were supposed to love them makes them run away to the street.
The judge listened in amazement looked at the office, wondering if he was ok because the gang doesn’t need a judge but a psychiatrist (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2017). They are psychologically destroyed and need medical attention and family cares rather than being put behind bars. Medically they are all wanting as they are hopeless at a tender age (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2017). The authority also showed the list of concerns as no strict follow-up on them if they got quality medication. The lack of authority not doing a follow-up breeds more violence against children and humans at large (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2017). While fewer cases are recorded, and data entry is limited in showing violence against children, study shows that corporal punishment is the most prevalent form of violence (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2017). In early child development, violence leaves a heavy impact on child minds; that’s why the judge suggested that they get medical help.
The lyrics continue to justify why so many end up in criminal and violent activities as children (Cao & Maguire-Jack, 2016). As the judge listened to the sweet, sad story of how and why there ended up as gangs, he got shocked and showed remorse, thus ordering that they need care and be raised at a normal home. It seems that the majority don’t have a normal home. Most children are brought up in unhealthy domestic violence environments as their fathers beat their mothers. This causes anger displacement disorder in their mothers (Cao & Maguire-Jack, 2016). This causes the mothers to hate and beat up the child. Physical assault on the child makes them join gangs to survive on the street. The families are full of people with unbearable character (Cao & Maguire-Jack, 2016). Brothers wore cross dressings while sisters wore a mustache leading younger siblings to have confused gender identity. Having no one to turn to, they joined the gang, which caused chaos, crimes, and abusing substances (Cao & Maguire-Jack, 2016). The ordeal they go through as criminals make them have mental disorders and cruelty at the hands of the police and fellow gangster. Society doesn’t welcome them; more are scared of them than understanding their ordeals.
Social workers are also ordered to help the children; they see them as vermin, full of filth, smelling, and dirty. They are misunderstood, causing them to lack basic needs such as food, clothing, medicines, and home. Instead of finding a solution, they decide on locking him up because he is of no good to everyone (Chopin & Caneppele, 2019). No one wants to associate with them, so they return him to the police officer Krupker who doesn’t want to be associated with him (Chopin & Caneppele, 2019). As the drama unfolds, many issues arise, especially how the law deals with crime against children and their investigations and offers professional help. Most police are usually quick to arrest street children without proper investigations. (Chopin & Caneppele, 2019). Many children live in fear, and most of them, especially infants, suffer terribly at the hands of perpetrators. Some violence usually results in death or prolonged mental damage to the victims. Emotional trauma usually attacks the brain and nervous system due to early exposure to violence (Chopin & Caneppele, 2019). This will lead to negative affect, mostly in cognitive, leading to low vocational and intellectual development. That’s why the children in the drama heard speaking offensive words like in the play; that’s another indication that they also lack moral values and indiscipline.
Children affected or rather exposed to abuse and violence are more likely not to attend schools. Some go but later drop out of school, making them more vulnerable to getting a job or any life-sustaining income ( Khatab et al., 2019). That is risk victimization of self-direction, leading to further extension to future generations. So many factors involved heavily impact society, family, individuals, close relationships, and the community. They are such as; on a personal level; it will affect future income, low educational levels, having disabled, mental health issues, use and abuse of drugs and substances, and strong exposure to more violence. On a close relationship level, the victim might have a hard time bonding between the parents or guardians; mighty have poor parenting skills, family dysfunctional and separation. On community stages, the effects it has on society and community are that a high percentage of poverty will be witnessed, higher numbers of gangs and illegal dealing, and a higher density percentage (Khatab et al., 2019).
Child violence can be prevented by putting more effort by the authority by putting response policy and protocol to be adhered to (Khatab et al., 2019). They are several strategies that have to be put like law implementation that restricts getting or acquiring of firearms and drugs, change of norms, clearing and putting of safe environment, offering parental or guardian training, economic and income strength like the microfinance and teaching about gender equality, putting up responsive services such that children who are exposed to violence can have effective access for help and care and schools and learning institution provides social skills training, that children attend school and a conducive environment (Khatab et al., 2019). The world health organization has put its foot forward in fighting child violence by maintaining an electronic information system that puts together scientific data on the issues (Khatab et al., 2019).
Law enforcement also doesn’t help in early prevention, and some follow-ups are not properly done—stigmatization and stereotyping of children who are victims of violence (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). Rehabilitation centers should be open to all; social workers should be educated on handling delicate cases (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020). Foster homes with care should be available to those who need home structure to heal (Haque & Muniruzzaman, 2020).
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